The Digital Dashboard
The Digital Dashboard is akin in concept to the Coroporate Portal. Writes Accenture, which talks about the portal as the desktop of the future: The portal as a desktop provides a single view of the work, and gives members of a team a view of their workplace that has the potential to unite them, not make them feel cut off from one another and from their work. As portals evolve from being used primarily as communication and knowledge management tools to supporting the real-time performance of collaborative job tasks, they promise to provide a workspace dimension that is not only unified but also unifying. That is, they can enhance the feeling of connectedness that is vital to the culture of a company.
What the Information Refinery creates is a peer-to-peer architecture of information sources and RSS routers, filters and processors. The key is to first start at the edges and create the unified viewing interface (the digital dashboard, as it were) a read-only interface, but with information aggregated from multiple sources. In general, in organisations, there are 10x more readers than writers (one person may update the accounts information, but there are likely to be 10 people relying on that information for analytics and decision-support). The next step is to enable two-way communication into the applications, so the Digital Dashboard can also become a writable area which interfaces to applications.
What the blog-RSS combo does is gives even the smallest of organisations the ability to create systems which can share information and tacit knowledge among people. Just as Slashdot harnesses the collective intellect of the technology community to create emergent insights which are far richer and deeper than what one individual may be capable of, enterprise blogs (or knowledge-logs) can create a knowledge sharing system which leverages people and not databases. Robert Buckman of Buckman puts the difference between knowledge management and sharing in context (Business Times, July 18, 2002):
We found that over 90 per cent of the knowledge in the company was in the heads of our people and it was changing every minute of every day. It was not written down yet. Therefore, if we wanted to achieve success in the fast-changing environment that we found ourselves in, we had to learn how to move this knowledge across the organisation to where it was needed and when it was needed.
It is this movement of knowledge that creates the value. It is movement in response to a need. That knowledge that moves in response to a need of the organisation is the valuable knowledge that you should capture for future reference. It is now explicit and it is useful to put it into a knowledge base.
Since I have not figured out how to manage the knowledge that is in somebody’s head, I have emphasised the concept of knowledge sharing to encourage its movement. That is why I think ‘knowledge management’ is somewhat of a misnomer.
Tomorrow: Blogs and RSS (continued)